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Ivor the Engine brought back to life in new book

17 December 09 07:21 GMT

Cartoon favourite Ivor the Engine is being brought back to life in a new book, 50 years after first appearing on television.

The book, which will raise money for charity, has been written by the son of the late Oliver Postgate, who wrote the original Ivor stories.

It will be illustrated by Peter Firmin, the original illustrator.

The last full length story of the Welsh engine and his driver, Jones The Steam, was made in 1977.

Postgate, who died last year, and Firmin were also behind other children's' favourites including Bagpuss, Noggin the Nog and The Clangers.

Dan Postgate said: "I was a bit daunted by the prospect of slipping into my dad's Hush Puppies and composing a new story.

"I hope I've managed to summon up some of the flavour of the original Ivor tales.

"It was certainly a real thrill to get the stamp of authenticity by having my story illustrated by Peter Firmin."

The cartoon and its tales of Dai Station and Idris the Dragon first appeared on television in 1959 and was then revamped in the mid-1970s.

The new book, Bluebell's Christmas Mission, is set in a snowy Wales on Christmas Day and will aid UK veterinary charity Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad.

The story features Bluebell the donkey.

Firmin and his daughter Emily, after whom Emily in Bagpuss is named, visited the charity's projects in Morocco earlier this year.

He said: "I hope this little book helps the important work they do for both working animals and the people who depend on them."

'Gorgeous illustrations'

The charity's chief executive, Jeremy Hulme, said: "We were absolutely delighted when Peter and Dan agreed to fire up Ivor once again and it's been a real privilege to be part of this project.

"We didn't know if it would ever happen initially but Peter was very keen to support our work, and his gorgeous illustrations and Dan's wonderful little story have combined to create something that all Ivor fans, young and old, will treasure."

Ivor reappeared on Welsh TV screens in 2004 to promote the former BBC Wales digital channel 2W.

In 2003, Ivor the Engine was voted number 18 in the first stage of a poll to find the top 100 Welsh Heroes sponsored by the assembly government.

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